The Ex Games

Infiltrator contacts his former girlfriends to penetrate his true inner self

Before I tell you how I tracked down all my ex-girlfriends of the past three years -- randomly and unexpectedly calling them up in order to interview them about me! -- it's best I first speak of my distaste for the mundane. I love turmoil! I love excitement! I love exclamation points!!!! I live for it all: the bright lights, the action, uh, more bright lights, um, toast ... did I already mention the bright lights?

My point: I like to stir things up, and what would be considered "completely normal" scares the bejeebies out of me. For this reason, it makes me a bit quirky -- if not maddening -- when it comes to my personal dating life.

In order to get a clearer picture of my peculiarities, I went right to the best sources. Straight to the experts. The ones who know best. That's right. Them! I tracked down all my ex-girlfriends of the past three years for a journey of self-discovery similar to the expedition led by British archaeologist Howard Carter when he discovered King Tut's tomb in the Valley of the Kings (or something like that). Yes, a true journey into the heart of darkness. You see, some of these relationships ended on slightly less than golden terms. (Note: In order to protect the innocent, all my ex-girlfriends are given pseudonyms of famous historical women.)

Ex-Girlfriend No .1

Name: Madame Curie.

Profile: Graduate student at UC Berkeley.

Duration of relationship: Nine months.

What attracted me to her: Extremely sexy, in a femme fatale, Hemingway-esque manner.

High points: Very smart. We clicked on the same common interests. I often left silly, romantic poetry in her mailbox, which she hung on her wall. Also, she had a pool table in her living room. I like pool!

Low points: We are both very competitive people. Anything involving competition was taken with grave seriousness.

How it ended: Very anti-climactic. Did the whole breakup thing, but still kept the sleeping-together thing -- which is always healthy and bound to have a positive conclusion -- until she started seeing someone else, which abruptly brought an end to the post-relationship scenario and also our friendship.

Why I was misunderstood: One time, an average pool match quickly ended an evening. Hey! Come on! It wasn't just a mere pool game, but a microcosm of our whole entire relationship. Not only our relationship, but, yes, all relationships in general. Like "winning" the pool game, I wanted a "winning" relationship. My God, that's a lot riding on one game of pool!

How did she rate as a girlfriend?: two stars (out of a possible four).

In order to come clean with Madame Curie, I venture to the bar where she slings canisters of martinis to a neo-trendy, wannabe crowd. I thought I'd make amends by highlighting her here, in an impartial newspaper-column profile about our past relationship. Everyone wants to be in a newspaper column, right?! Well, the answer is actually no!

"You'll just end up slamming me," is her response to the interview prospect. Harrumph! I'm offended! That's just the typical humorless comment I'd expect. How dare she deny me an interview! Who the hell does she think she is, Frank-fucking-Sinatra?

Perhaps this type of scenario was one of the tragic downfalls in our self-created Elizabethan play. My job is to point out the idiosyncrasies of social situations and people, therefore that sometimes tends to spill over into everyday life and, of course, relationships.

"I don't want to introduce you to my parents. You'll just end up making fun of them," was Madame Curie's insensitive response to my request to attend a family function. Hmmm, maybe she was embarrassed that her family function might have resembled a reunion of the cast of Hee Haw?

Ex-Girlfriend No. 2

Name: Susan B. Anthony.

Profile: Photographer.

Duration of relationship: 10 months.

What attracted me to her: Besides being cuter than a bug's ear, she had amazing energy and a clear perception of the world. Also, very driven and focused on her artistic pursuits.

High points: She was truly unique and full of brilliant ideas. She worked in the arts and could understand my various temperaments. We also once had sex in an airplane. I like having sex in an airplane!

Low points: Constant phone calls from an old boyfriend caused annoying tension. Guys tend to find the biggest comedic target of all in the most recent ex-boyfriend. It's like on Bewitched. He's the old Darrin; I'm the new Darrin. We both have a relationship with Samantha, but, as everyone knows, one Darrin is better than the other. It's the clash of the titans! Good versus Evil! Coke versus Pepsi!

How it ended: She moved back home to North Carolina (not because of me).

Why I was misunderstood: I'd show up to her house dressed in a bear suit. After the fourth time, she didn't find it funny anymore.

How did she rate as a girlfriend?: 3 1/2 stars.

Susan B. Anthony agrees to grant me an interview. An interview about ... me! How self-indulgent this will be. But she voices concern.

"So, what are you going to write about me?!" she asks in half-curiosity, half-panic. She's hesitant about talking, so I ask her questions, referring to myself in the third person.

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